When Allah Calls, “O You Who Believe”

Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala repeatedly calls the muslims in the Qur’an by mentioning them as the people who have iman (belief), before commanding them to do something or prohibiting them from something,

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا

“O you who believe…”

Shaikh ‘Abdur-Rahman ibn Nasir as-Sa’diy rahimahullah explained in his book al-Qawa’idul-Hisan that there are two meanings behind this call.

First: Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala explains to us that the consequence of having that iman is doing what Allah commands and refraining from what He prohibits. It is not appropriate for someone who claims that he/she has iman to become heedless of the commands of Allah.

Second: Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala reminds us that iman is the biggest blessing that Allah gives to His servants, such that it is obligatory upon us to have shukr (thankfulness, gratitude) to Allah for this blessing. He then teaches us that shukr to Him is achieved by doing His commands and staying away from His prohibitions.1

Shaikh Muhammad ibn Salih al-‘Uthaimin rahimahullah also explained another wisdom behind this call: that iman is something that is loved by every person with sound intellect. That is why Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala calls the muslims as ‘the people who have iman’ or ‘the people who believe’ before commanding them or prohibiting them. The purpose is so that it will be easier for them to submit to Allah’s orders.2

That is why it is obligatory upon us to listen carefully when the verses of the Qur’an containing this call are recited. Ibnu Mas’ud radiyallahu ‘anhu said,

وإذا سمعت الله يقول: {يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا}، فأرعها سمعك، فإنه خير يُؤمَر به، أو شر يُنهَى عنه.

“If you hear Allah says, ‘O you who believe,’ then listen carefully, because what will be mentioned afterwards is a good that will be commanded or an evil that will be prohibited.”3

We hope that if we take heed of Allah’s commands that are mentioned after He calls the people who believe, then Allah will enable us to enter a place in the Hereafter that is prepared only for the people who believe: the Paradise.

Written by: Dr. Andy Latief
Article of Al-Minhaj Institute

  1. al-Qawa’idul-Hisan, authored by ‘Abdur-Rahman ibn Nasir as-Sa’diy, the Ninth Principle (p. 40), printed with kitab at-Ta’liq ‘ala al-Qawa’idil-Hisan authored by Muhammad ibn Salih al-‘Uthaimin, published by Dar Ibn al-Jauziy (Riyad), second edition, 1435 H. []
  2. Liqa’ al-Bab al-Maftuh, Muhammad ibn Salih al-‘Uthaimin, Halaqah 50. []
  3. Hilyatul-Auliya’ wa Tabaqatul-Asfiya’, authored by Ahmad ibn ‘Abdillah Abu Nu’aim al-Asbahaniy (1/ 130), published by Maktabah al-Khanjiy (Cairo) dan Darul-Fikr (Beirut), 1416 H. []